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Although the coronavirus pandemic has stolen the spotlight in 2020, environmental protection and sustainability efforts are still at the top of the agenda for the fine food industry. That’s demonstrated clearly by a new initiative launched by Vhari Russell, the managing director of The Food Marketing Experts.
Creating Nature’s Corridors was established to rewild corridors of land affected by the building of new roads and housing estates. In the UK, just 13% of the land area is covered by trees, compared with an EU average of 37%. To help reach the government’s 2050 net-zero carbon goal, Vhari says woodland cover across the country needs to rise to at least 17%.
The food industry plays a large part in the climate crisis. Food and agriculture account for over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report published on Our World in Data.
“Having worked in the food industry for over 20 years, the green credentials of business have never been more important,” explains Vhari. Each year, Creating Nature’s Corridors aims to plant 10,000 trees and hedges across the country, starting with the least wooded areas. Through this, Vhari is hoping to help local communities and encourage biodiversity and carbon capture, and she has aims to eventually collaborate with businesses involved in the construction industry.
The ambitious project was inspired by the unexpected death of Vhari’s brother Rory, a nature lover, two years ago. “It led me to ask ‘what will people say about me when I go?’ I decided then I need to do more and the best way to do that was to focus my grief into something positive,” Vhari says.
Vhari also created the charity to give more business, brands and consumers of fine food a place where they can make a real difference. “We have a wealth of producers and retailers all interested in getting involved and supporting the charity. It’s a really exciting time and a wonderful opportunity to make a big difference.”
She has many dreams for the charity, including planting a community wood and a large oak tree in memory of her brother. Oak trees alone support 2,300 species, 326 of which are entirely dependent on oaks for their survival. “It feels like a hugely positive thing to do and a way in which to deal with this huge loss to my family.”
For more information on Creating Nature’s Corridors, visit the charity’s website.